Rwanda has launched an inquiry into the possible role of at least 20 French military and other officials in the 1994 genocide, the prosecutor general said on Wednesday.
The move – which is likely to deepen already strained relations with Paris – follows the release of a document in October which accused French officials of having a role in the genocide.
“The enquiry so far is focused on 20 individuals and according to the informations we gathered so far, our office requires some informations or clarifications from these individuals on the allegations against them for their role in the genocide,” said Richard Muhumuza, Rwanda’s Prosecutor General.
Rwanda has frequently had diplomatic rows with France since the genocide, when about 800,000 mostly ethnic minority Tutsis and moderates from the Hutu majority population were killed.
Kigali has long accused France of supporting the former government of President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu whose death when his plane was shot down in 1994 sparked the bloodbath.
“They participated, they helped, they trained the Interahamwe, they very closely supported the Rwandan state at that time, during the genocide, so they did nothing to stop the genocide when they could,” said Egide Nkuranga, vice president of Ibuka, an association of survivors of the genocide.
Rwanda, a former German and Belgian colony, had strong ties with France until 1994. Under Kagame, the government has forged close links with the United States and Britain.